Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support to childcare sector

Published: 31 Jul 2020
Last updated: 23 Oct 2020 - see all updates

Guidance on the daycare services for children in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support to childcare sector
Childminders: financial support

Childminders: business and financial support

This information applies to childminders and sets out the range of business and financial support that has been made available.

You may be able to access some support measures regardless of whether your setting is open or closed.  

On 10 July Scotland entered Phase 3 of the route map for recovery from COVID-19. The latest guidance for childminder services was published on 30 July and confirmed that: 

  • from 15 July 2020, childminders who wish to deliver their service can do so in line with their usual operating model. There is no restriction to the number of households that childminders can care for
  • childminders can use their discretion to allocate places to families, based on their usual operating model
  • childminders operating larger settings of more than eight children at any one time, are no longer required to keep children in cohorts of up to eight but should follow the guidance for large settings below
  • there is no longer a requirement to avoid blended placements (i.e. where children attend 2 or more childcare settings). However, minimising contacts remains important to managing the risk of transmission of the virus

This guidance will be kept under review as we move through the different phases of the route map for recovery.

Overview of available support

Dependent on your individual circumstances, you may be able to access support through one or more of the following (details of each of the schemes are set out below):

You can also find more information on the Find Business Support website or contact our business helpline on 0300 303 0660.  

Childminding Workforce Support Fund

The Childminding Workforce Support Fund was initially launched in July 2020 to provide support to childminders who are facing hardship and, in particular, who have not been able to access financial support through other routes. 

The Fund, which was initially jointly funded by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA), made £60,000 of support available. There was significant demand for the fund and a first round of grants were paid following closure to new applicants on 17 July 2020. 

We are now providing additional funding of £390,000 to the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) to extend the Childminding Workforce Support Fund. This includes covering the costs of administering the fund up to £60,000.

The funding will offer grants of £350 to eligible childminders who have been unable to access support through other routes. The Childminding Workforce Support Fund is now closed for new applications, and the assessment process is underway.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Grant Extension

On 24 September the UK Government announced that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme  (SEISS) is being extended.

The grant will be limited to self-employed individuals who have been previously eligible for the SEISS, declare that they intend to continue to trade and either are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to COVID-19 or were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus. The scheme will last for 6 months, from November 2020 to April 2021.

The extension will be in the form of two taxable grants. The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. On 22 October the UK Government announced that this initial grant will cover 40% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £3,750 in total.

The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April. The UK Government will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.

HMRC will provide full details about claiming and applications in guidance on GOV.UK in due course.

Other sources of support

If you are not eligible for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, following are other sources of support you may be able to access:

  • you may be able to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of your turnover through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. The maximum loan available is £50,000. The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Under the new Pay as you Grow options announced on 24 September, Bounce Back Loan borrowers will all be offered the choice of more time and greater flexibility for their repayments.
  • if you are not eligible for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme  then you may be able to access support through Universal Credit. The standard rate in Universal Credit has been increased to support claimants. You can find out more information about Universal Credit and how to apply on the site.
  • if you have had to self-isolate, and can no longer offer your service, then you may be able to make a claim for the New Style Employment and Support Allowance
  • if you have been asked by Test and Protect to self-isolate, you might be able to access support through the £500 Self-Isolation Support Grant. Payments are available to eligible individuals who were told to self-isolate from 28 September onwards. 
  • if you are already receiving Universal Credit and you have COVID-19 or need to self-isolate, the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor have been temporarily relaxed. This change took effect on 13 March and will last for the duration of the outbreak.
  • if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week, you may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you, the person you care for and the type of care you provide meets certain criteria. Carer's Allowance is currently delivered in Scotland by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on behalf of Scottish Ministers.

Support with the deferral of tax, mortgage and other payments

  • if you were due to make a self-assessment payment on account on 31 July 2020 then you are eligible for this payment to be deferred until January 2021. This should have been applied automatically and no applications were required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment of your July 2020 payment on account until January 2021. More information: Deferral of self assessment payment.  
  • Taxpayers with up to £30,000 of Self-Assessment liabilities due will now be able to use HMRC’s self-service Time to Pay facility to secure a plan to pay over an additional 12 months. This means that Self-Assessment liabilities due in July 2020 will not need to be paid in full until January 2022. Any Self-Assessment taxpayer not able to pay their tax bill on time, including those who cannot use the online service, can continue to use HMRC’s Time to Pay Self-Assessment helpline to agree a payment plan.
  • Under the new Pay as you Grow options announced on 24 September, Bounce Back Loan borrowers will all be offered the choice of more time and greater flexibility for their repayments.
  • If you’ve missed, or are worried about missing, your next tax payment due to coronavirus, please contact HMRC. You can also call the HMRC helpline for advice on 0800 024 1222.
  • in addition, Value Added Tax (VAT) payments due before 30 June 2020 have been deferred until 2022. Under the New Payment Scheme, businesses can spread their payments over the financial year 2021-2022. Rather than paying in full at the end of March 2021, businesses will be able to choose to make 11 equal instalments over the 2021-22 financial year.
  • mortgage lenders have agreed to offer repayment holidays to households in financial difficulty due to COVID-19. You need to be up to date with payments and not already in arrears, and should contact your lender at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss if this is a suitable option for you.
  • you may be eligible for a council tax reduction which will reduce your council tax, potentially to zero depending on your circumstances. The Scottish Government will provide local authorities with more money to support that. Your local authority will be able to provide more information. If your income or earnings are impacted by COVID-19 and you are struggling to meet your next council tax payment you should discuss this as soon as possible with your local authority by phone or using their website.
  • if as a result of COVID-19 you are experiencing difficulties with paying your energy bills, or paying back personal loans of credit card bills, then please contact your energy provider or lender to explore payment plans.

First published: 31 Jul 2020 Last updated: 23 Oct 2020 -